Pretty Cloud

I’ve become a fan of all things Google as of late. Don’t get me wrong, while I’m definitely drinking the koolaid, I am not unaware of problems with working solely in the cloud.1  That said, I’ve been using gmail, picasa, docs, maps, etc for years. Recently, I’ve jumped on the beta bandwagon of Google’s new music and +1 services. I’ve rambled enough on +1 already so no need to be redundant, redundant.

Storage is pretty excellent. Each service gives you a default amount of usable online storage. That said, you can upgrade to 20 gigs for just $5.00 a year.2  Even better, the storage is shared across all your Google services. This is a big bonus for me and a large factor in my decision to use many Google services.

Gmail has come along way since its inception. Its now very robust and user friendly. Its built in spam filter is excellent. The new +1 like theme is very easy on the eyes. Enough said.

Maps has always been excellent via the web or mobile. Google continues to integrate it with Places and Navigation. Maps has been my go to service for directions, MUNI, etc for years. The navigation mobile app is awesome as well. The down side of course is it requires a cell connection to triangulate the gps.  That can be a problem when you ride a motorcycle thru the middle of nowhere. lol

Picasa is good but not yet excellent. I say ‘not yet’ because I have high hopes for the service that has sort of floundered in feature updates until recently. Storage, uploading, sharing, and even editing is pretty good. Its integration with +1 is obvious and also off to a very good start. Unfortunately, organizing, tagging, and otherwise managing content once it’s online is not all that great. Batch editing/organizing is very lacking and cumbersome. I’m hoping as the merger into +1 continues, this will change. Picasa also has a desktop app. While the app is very robust, its also a bit confusing. The interface is cluttered and its very easy to get confused on what is where. The mobile site is basically for viewing and sharing. While there has never been an official mobile app, the new +1 mobile app has pics integrated. It could use some more features. I recently migrated all my pics from flickr over to Picasa. I got a sick kick out of deleting my flickr account. lol They charge a ridiculous $25.00 a year for a fraction of the storage offered by Google. The only call to fame flickr still had over Picasa was its online organizing. Not enough to make me pay an extra $20 a year though.

Docs is doing better after also languishing for awhile. Dropbox is still more user friendly, especially via the mobile app. Mobile Docs tends to be sluggish. I’m still bouncing between the two currently. For stuff I need quick/dirty access to, I still use Dropbox. For generic storage and not so high-demand stuff I use Docs. Primarily because of the storage options mentioned above.

The beta music service works as advertised but it is still very basic at this point. It offers storage and playback, both of which work flawlessly. Currently, there isn’t much beyond that. You can download your music to a device or computer. Its still beta but I hate that its so basic as to be too basic. Google has a habit of doing that, so all is not perfect. I’m hoping it gets some major feature upgrades.

So there ya have it. My review of all things Google3  lol  The down side to cloud computing is of course, access. If you don’t have access then you don’t have shit. Several services offer offline support but that sort of defeats the purpose IMHO. That said, we are fast approaching an age where the entire planet will be blanketed in some sort of access to the web. The only time I really don’t have access myself is when I’m out riding the bike. Otherwise, I’m plugged in to the hilt, just like a good little borg.

  1. Cloud is basically everything is online, apps, data, storage, etc []
  2. They offer even more if you are truly a memory hog. []
  3. Actually, not all. There are a ton of services that I don’t use []